Pinyin chart and new -ong final 🗣️

New pinyin chart!

We’ve added a basic pinyin chart to make it easy for anyone to get an overview of the HanziHero pinyin system. It can be accessed at any time from the Curriculum dropdown within the web app.

We plan to expand it in the coming weeks with an FAQ about common pinyin quirks among other things.

New -ong final

As part of this update, we have also rolled out a change to add a new -ong final. We choose “temple” to represent this final, since the -ong sound is similar to the deep sound a gong would make, which are found in most temples. Clever, we know.

This makes HanziHero pinyin initials/finals a bit more similar to the set within standard pinyin.

Before this addition, e.g., gong was broken down as gu- + -eng. This quirk required some in-depth knowledge of how Zhuyin, Pinyin, and Chinese phonetics work to understand. It was inherited from the Marilyn method system that HanziHero was initially based off of. However, it is a common source of confusion for new users. Additionally, the lack of -ong final meant that e.g., xiong was represented as xu + eng which is even MORE confusing (even if this is indeed how it is conceptually represented in Zhuyin). :weary:

Instead, e.g., gong will now be broken down as g- + -ong. This is much easier to remember and understand. :slight_smile:

Here is the full list of syllable changes as a result of this change:

  • dong = d- + -ong
  • tong = t- + -ong
  • nong = n- + -ong
  • long = l- + -ong
  • gong = g- + -ong
  • kong = k- + -ong
  • hong = h- + -ong
  • zhong = zh- + -ong
  • chong = ch- + -ong
  • rong = r- + -ong
  • zong = z- + -ong
  • cong = c- + -ong
  • song = s- + -ong
  • yong = y- + -ong
  • jiong = ji- + -ong
  • qiong = qi- + -ong
  • xiong = xi- + -ong

Much better!

The mnemonics for all characters that now have an -ong final have all been changed as part of this update.

Upcoming changes to make sounds more clear

In the coming weeks we will be rolling out some smaller improvements to sounds. These include things like:

  • Improving the pinyin chart with an FAQ.
  • Showing example characters a given sound is in within lessons.
  • Improving the sound subject page with additional relevant info.
  • Making more clear that the e in -eng/-en is sometimes not present in the complete syllable in some cases by marking it with parentheses. for example mi + (e)ng = ming.

If you have any suggestions for how sounds in HanziHero can be made easier to understand for new learners, please let us know. Our aim is to make HanziHero a suitable resource for users of all levels, especially those who may not know much about pinyin.


One suggestion is that we sort the rows so that the c and ch series aren’t mixed together, and also put the retroflexes, dentals, etc. together?

xiong was represented as xu + eng which is even MORE confusing (even if this is indeed how it is conceptually represented in Zhuyin

This is an aside, because I don’t think learners should be this in the weeds, but this makes more sense than the alternative IMO. You have to consider that the “y” glide contains both the “rounding” and the “palatization” features. If you buy that “rounding” + “eng” = “ong”, then it’s basically like the two features kinda got split in way. The rounding basically starts a timing slot later than if it was just “xu”.

Also IDK if this is already linked in the Docs, but might want to link to Pinyin chart - Chinese Pronunciation Wiki, or get a native to add audio to your chart.


So what’s the difference between these?
Screenshot 2023-12-12 125945


That’s a bug in how we render the table. Sorry about that. It should be b- + -a = ba. b- + -_ doesn’t map to any valid pinyin syllable. I deployed a fix for this that should be out in the next couple of minutes. Thanks for letting us know.

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Welcome to the forum! :slight_smile:

Yeah that was my slip up, apologies about that!
Thanks for seeking clarification, the fix is live :+1:

@kevin @phil could you tell us what other changes to the system are you thinking about implementing?

that is changes which might impact the information me memorise (this update requires relearning all characters with -ong final)

luckily I haven’t started using Hanzi Hero yet, but yes, when I saw 工 “work” - gōng, which before was goofy + english manor, it did not make much sense to me.

so it is a great improvement to Hanzi Hero!

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We don’t have any other large changes planned for sounds. I would say that the system of mnemonics (components, sounds, characters, and words) has reached a stable point and won’t change much at all going forward. Indeed, this and an earlier tweak where we added one other pinyin final are the only major “breaking” changes we’ve made to it thus far in the history of the application.

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